Growing up, there were some words that were banned in our house. One of them was the word “bored”. It was considered a non-starter. If you felt inclined to use the word, it was pointed out that you had a personal responsibility to find things to trigger your imagination and captivate your attention. In this current environment, I have a deeper appreciation for being encouraged to learn this skill at an early age. It’s not easy. But in this Coronavirus crisis, it’s actually something that can keep us all safe. And yes, it is work! But the trick is to make it fun!
“The Beatles saved the world from boredom” George Harrison
I think George Harrison had a good observation to make here. Maybe the world was a bit bored before the Beatles arrived on the scene. I don’t know. But the group certainly did wake the world up! And in so many ways. To this day, Beatle songs are covered endlessly. Paul McCartney is still writing and recording and touring. So is Ringo. They were prolific and fascinating. Their releases are still among the most treasured collections of songs. And for good reason.
This brings me to thoughts on things to do while the “stay at home” movement continues. Few things are more soothing than music. I love all genres of music. Literally. I can listen to anything, from pop to classical, jazz to rap, opera to broadway. I wrote an earlier posting about experimenting with music while you’re at home these days. It can transport you, elevate your mood, bring back a flood of wonderful memories. It can transform all kinds of boredom into delight and dispel the blues you may be feeling. George Harrison may be right, but regardless, it was the music that transformed the world, as it has for centuries. Indulge your imagination and unleash the music inside you! That’s A Table for One!
Just before everything closed down, most of us received a heads up that we were going to be very restricted during the “stay at home” order. This meant that stocking up on food for the duration, as best you could. Many store shelves were emptied quickly. So improvisation came into play for both food types and cooking ideas. If you couldn’t acquire the things you usually look for, it was time to make new selections.
“Julia Child came to my house and wanted a lesson in making risotto”
I love the idea that an expert chef like Julia Child realized that she could learn to cook new meals from other colleagues. This is a time to take out your cook books and or recipes online and get going with some new ideas. For example, I bought fresh crab cakes to freeze and tried one the other night. I realized I didn’t have tartar sauce but thought, it can’t be all that hard to make and it would be worth trying.
The results were wonderful. I improvised by mixing mayonnaise, dijon mustard, cornichons, capers and fresh lemon together. Having never made it before, I had no pre-set amounts for the ingredients so I just made it to taste. Some of these things were already in my pantry, some were things I had picked up. Truth be told, it was so good that I decided I wouldn’t buy store bought tartar sauce anymore! Small part of the meal, but an important one to brighten up the evening’s offering.
I’ll be experimenting over the next few weeks as many people will be. As I find good results, I’ll share them. The point is to give things a try. Tweak old recipes. Experiment. Have some fun. During times of stress, it’s important to make small things count. You’ll feel accomplished and may take some ideas forward when things resolve. That’s A Table for One.
Somethings we’ll all be missing during these days of self isolation are those appointments we make to attend to our beauty and/or grooming rituals. These can be both restorative and lovely ways to relax and exhale, even during normal times. So why not focus on this aspect of our lives and use these days to design your own spa days at home?
“You exist only in what you do”.
First, look around your house or apartment for all the things you already have stocked but haven’t thought of using for self-pampering . Things like bath salts, fragrant candles, a great CD for background music. If you’re in the mood for a manicure, look for polish you may not have used recently. Never given yourself a manicure with polish? Now is the time to try! Pedicure too. If you’re a man who likes a good shave, try giving yourself a nice hot towel wrap before shaving. Try a sample cologne you haven’t used before. Sample a new perfume. Most of us have plenty of samples we haven’t tried. Find them and have fun experimenting!
I’m sure you’ve also got cosmetics that you haven’t used in a while. These could include fragrant moisturizers, creams and even makeup. Now is the time to try experimenting with different colors. Perhaps an eye shadow, lipstick or lipgloss that you have on hand but haven’t used.. You can even experiment with a different hairstyle. If you always blow dry your hair, try letting your hair air-dry for example. If you have longer hair, tie it back or try making a messy bun or a braid.
Then enjoy your favorite beverage in front of the TV or computer this evening. Put your feet up, put on a snuggly robe and slippers. Sip some tea, have a beer, cocktail or glass of bubbly. Try some wine that you haven’t had before. The point is to create a really relaxing environment, enjoy doing something good for yourself and don’t hold back. That’s A Table For One.
Being on your own can sometimes appear to be a form of self isolation, but it usually happens by choice or happenstance. Which is entirely different than the “self isolation” we’ve been told to practice during this pandemic. In these days of trying to tamp down the spread of the deadly Coronavirus, I know that many of you will be confining yourselves to “self isolation”. And that you might find it daunting. So I’m going to try and share some ideas during this time, that you may find helpful.
“What lies behind you and what lies in front of you, pales in comparison to what lies inside of you.” Ralph Waldo Emerson
We’re at a moment in time that is extremely troubling and unsettling. Add to that the worry for loved ones along with ourselves and it’s a real recipe for anxiety. I’d like to share some ideas on things to do that might help. I’m not a medical expert, but I have spent lots of time exploring and discovering ways to enjoy life when you find yourself on your own. Things that might also help dispel cabin fever, even if you’re inside with another person.
Listening to music comes to mind as a way to sooth anxiety . Listening to old favorites can bring back happy memories of times you spent with friends. “Oldies but Goodies” is one category that never seems to fail. Or, go on an exploration of artists and types of music you’ve never had time to tune into.
For example, The Metropolitan Opera is streaming past programming for free. If you’ve never been to an opera, now’s the time to try it! I’m a life-long fan, having been to The Met in NYC, as well as the magnificent Opera House in Vienna. The stories, the music, the incredible talent will transport you. It’s also a wonderful way to spend a few hours away from the chatter about this pandemic. You may find you enjoy it and become a fan too! Visit Metopera.org to find their offerings.
Be sure to experiment with the time you have, to explore new avenues of musical entertainment. It will help occupy your mind to concentrate on other things. I’m going to post more ideas as well. This is one of many. Take care, hunker down and enjoy some new as well as familiar music! That’s A Table For One!
I know this is traditionally thought of as a day for couples. I’ve enjoyed many of them that way. But there have been a few, like this one, when I’ve found myself on my own. That shouldn’t stop anyone from celebrating this beautiful holiday of love…
“All you need is love, but a little chocolate every now and then doesn’t hurt”. Charles M. Schultz
Spring has been far too slow in coming. Winter coats are beginning to look drab and the folks wearing them look weary. So it’s no surprise that going out for a walk today wasn’t something I was expecting to be terribly uplifting. That is, until I ran into the Chalk Art man.
“Art is beautiful. It makes you happy” Honschar, the NYC Chalk Artist
So when I came upon this artist, hard at work lighting up an otherwise gray and dreary sidewalk with cheerful messages of birthday greetings and custom crafted salutes to brothers and sisters, I had to stop.
He was happily calling upon the growing crowd to be good to their moms and dads. Encouraging children to be good. Reminding adults to “call your mother”. Who doesn’t find that chant delightful and valuable?
Call to action!
We spoke and I told him I’d like to include him in my blog, would he mind? He seemed thrilled and then graciously offered to create a bit of street chalk art for me. Here it is! I just loved his enthusiasm and I told him with gratitude how much joy he brings to others.
Honschar The Chalk Artist
Unexpected things happen when you push yourself to explore and engage when you see something inspirational. I’m so happy I decided to speak to this talented and generous sidewalk chalk artist today.
Art to make you happy!
And that’s a great and unexpected “A Table for One” adventure!
Of course, winter weather varies, depending on where you live. But I have found that, generally speaking, this particular season tends to feel longer than any other! Perhaps it’s that the daylight hours are shortened and so the feeling of darkness prevails. Or maybe that we spend more time indoors?
“Winter is a season of recovery and preparation.” Paul Theroux
Daffodils and snow
I love this quote from Paul Theroux. For me, it expresses a beautiful reason to dig deeper and explore more positive rationales to enjoy what can otherwise seem to be a dreary and endless march of cold days and longer months. I find it so inspiring to think of winter as a season of recovery. Hibernating can be so restorative. It requires some planning, however.
Even if I’m not entertaining, in the winter, I’ll take time to shop for a special dinner of fresh fish and vegetables to cook up for myself. It’s soothing to prepare a cup of tea and put on some music you haven’t listened to in a while. Or to treat yourself to a special dessert.
The notion that winter is also a time to prepare is a great idea too! Looking ahead to spring, when it comes, can include some wonderful ideas for re-organizing at home. Changing up your decor, introducing a new painting or object d’art to refresh your space.
Winter is definitely a long season. Finding ways to enjoy it is so important. Celebrate by finding new things to do and enjoy “A Table for One”.
To observe the seasons in all their transformative glory, you don’t need to have your own garden, you can simply adopt one! Beautiful gardens can be found in parks everywhere. Public parks are wonderful places to enjoy at all times of the year.
“Study nature, love nature, stay close to nature, it will never fail you.”
Frank Lloyd Wright
Wherever you go, visit a park. The essence of where you are can be found in the specific plants, trees and flowers that are indigenous to different places. Taking note of them gives you insight into everything about that particular location and can create a beautifully enhanced memory of where you’ve been.
This is an activity that’s perfectly lovely when shared with someone you love. A friend. I find it particularly wonderful too, even when I’m alone. It’s easier to take note of the environment when you’re not distracted by engaging with another person. I love taking long walks on my own. Finding a garden is an extraordinary discovery. No matter where you go, nature offers such delights. The fragrance of certain flowers, how the light alters the colors of leaves, the way a breeze brings a landscape to life…all of the beauty of nature is on display and you didn’t have to do anything, to create it yourself! Visit a park and discover your own special garden, it’s a perfect way to spend an afternoon with A Table For One.
There are days when you may feel as I do…moved to express your feelings in a different way. I think poetry can be so inspirational and transporting. Why not try it yourself?
“Poetry is when an emotion has found its thought and the thought has found words.” Robert Frost
Even if you don’t feel you can write a poem, I highly recommend trying it. You can read a book of poetry, even if it’s a small collection, as a guide. When I don’t have time to read an entire book, I keep a book of poetry nearby. It’s a great way to take a mental break and let yourself go wherever the poem takes you. I keep one by my bedside and carry one when I travel.
Here’s one I wrote that was inspired by thinking about a loved one:
As on a ruler,
Notched lines lie
Neatly numbered on your face.
I look and I see
In their sequence, a beauty,
I have forgotten how to count.
I think that poetry makes you stop, or at the very least, pause in a world that is always running at top speed. Poetry is all about putting thought into words that move the emotions. It has to touch on one of the most persuasive emotions…love, pain, anger, awe, etc. Sometimes I find it really hard to get out of “drive”. That’s when reading some poetry and taking time to write a poem of my own is wonderfully effective. It makes for a great time out!
It’s a pleasure. Something you can read or write, that is complete in its brevity. Something that Give it a try. You may surprise yourself. Get inspired. And that’s A Table for One moment to keep.